Over 650 cases have been linked to 40 churches and religious facilities around the country, due to gatherings such as Sunday services, church meetings, and youth camps.
"Our churches have followed protocols: masks, go in one door and out the other, social distancing," said Cynthia Fierro Harvey, a bishop with the United Methodist Church in Louisiana. "And still people have tested positive."
The New York Times has revealed that since houses of worship have been reopened, a spike in cases of the virus has affected many religious attendees, particularly in Colorado, Missouri, Texas, and Florida.
Despite the safety precautions put into place, church-goers in Texas contracted the virus once their pastor told them that they may hug again. Last month in Florida, a teenager died after attending a youth party at her church. Locations in California are restricting singing in places of worship, to help stop the spread.
Many religious services have been held virtually or on outside lawns and parking lots, in order to keep members safe. After the president declared centers for worship an "essential service," religious events became a political battleground. Many questioned the power of the president and his ability to override governor's orders to keep them closed.
Even though many places of worship fought to reopen their doors, they are now being forced to close once again.
Many people are upset with the decision to allow casinos, even while limiting church-goers.
"They're downplaying the role that religion plays in the lives of Americans and suggesting it's more important to go to the gym than to go to church," Kristen K. Waggoner, general counsel of the Alliance Defending Freedom, said.
Places of worship, although important, have caused the virus to spread. Keeping services on virtual platforms may be a safer alternative for the time being.